Tough loss for Bayern, 98-73
The basketball players of FC Bayern Munich were caught sleeping in their last home game of the year and lost 98-73 in the EuroLeague against Zalgiris Kaunas. 6,500 spectators in the sold-out Audi Dome watched Bayern Munich get off to a good start, but after and early 11-5 lead, the strong-shooting guests went on a 21-2 run and dominated for the rest of the game. The FCBB missed a good chance move up in the league standings and will need to improve in 2020. Danilo Barthel was the top scorer for Bayern with 20 points.
The next tasks will not get any easier now: Next Monday (December 30th, 20:30 CET), the German champions will have to go to Bamberg, fourth in the BBL standings, who defeated the second-place Ludwigsburg 75-68 at home on Friday evening. On New Year's Day, the Munich team will travel to the next EuroLeague matchup at Red Star Belgrade. The next home game will be against defending champion ZSKA Moscow on January 10th.
Tickets: FCBB vs ZSKA Moscow
Points per quarter Bayern - Kaunas: 13-21, 22-22, 15-25, 23-30.
Facts & Figures - Two-point shooting: 40% (FCBB) // 59% (Kaunas); three-point shooting: 50% // 46%; rebounds: 28 // 27; assists: 16 // 29; turnovers: 20 // 7th - Injuries: TJ Bray (recovery after foot surgery) and Leon Radosevic (gastroenteritis).
FCBB stats: Danilo Barthel (20 points/5 rebounds/4 threesome), Paul Zipser (13), Petteri Koponen (9/3 threesome), Nihad Djedovic (9), Maodo Lo (8/7 assists), Vladimir Lucic (5/5 reb), DeMarcus Nelson (5), Greg Monroe (2/7 reb), Mathias Lessort (2), Diego Flaccadori, Joshua Huestis and Alex King (dnp).
FCBB head coach, Dejan Radonjic: "Congratulations to Zalgiris. They played very well. They had a good rhythm and hit their shots, especially from the outside. They controlled the game in the second half. 20 turnovers were too much. All in all, Zalgiris had a very good day today and unfortunately we lost our focus.
Kaunas head coach, Sarunas Jasikevicius: "We are very happy with today's victory. It's always difficult to play here and many big teams have had problems. So I am very happy with my team. After a losing streak of nine games, in which we have often played very well, this time we finally hit our shots and won.
Against the last place team in the Euroleague, FCBB coach Radonjic put Maodo Lo, Petteri Koponen, Vladimir Lucic, Danilo Barthel and Mathias Lessort in as his starting lineup. Barthel opened the scoring with two free throws. With fast pace and spectacular playes, the crowd was immediately in high spirits especially as the German club scored well and took an 11-5 lead after three minutes of play. The flow of the game then came to a halt as the Lithuanians defended more aggressively and took the lead with a snappy 10-0 run. A steal and a lay-up by DeMarcus Nelson stopped the visitors, but only briefly as they hit their five three-pointer of the quarter to take a 21-13 lead after ten minutes.
Lithuania's local champion continued exactly where they had left off in the first quarter by hitting a three to extend their lead. The Munich team fought desperately, but the chances were not good enough to get back into the game. The Lithuanians, on the other hand, scored less often than before, but still with nice regularity, forcing a time-out for Bayern. Five points in a row by Maodo Lo brought the Bavarians to a single-digit deficit at 37-28 and there was hope again in the Audi Dome. A little later the German champions pushed themselves even closer with a three - time out Kaunas. The fans were thrilled, as the Munich team were within reach and at halftime there was only an eight-point gap with a score of 43-35.
Hopes were dashed rather quickly as the Lithuanians bursted onto the court with a 9-3 run and forced FCBB coach Radonjic to take an early time-out. The Bayern offense completely stalled and after what felt like an eternity DeMarcus Nelson finall hit from beyond the three-point line to bring the score to 54-41. The Munich players made inexplicable mistakes and Kaunas took advantage on nearly every one of them. K.C. Rivers, a former Bayern player, hit a three and took the Kaunas lead to over 20. After 30 minutes the Munich team was behind 68-50.
Kaunas started into the final quarter immediately with a three and were clearly in control of the game. The fans gave their all, rose up and pushed the Munich team loudly forward. Paul Zipser marched ahead and scored eight points in a row, but the visitors also scored again and again - 82-61. The defeat could not be averted but the FCBB fought to the end and left the court with their heads held high to the cheering applause of the fans.
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Photo Credit: Stickel, Rauchensteiner